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Articles by Melissa Sweet

The Koori Woman: You really need to know this history, Dude

Kelly Briggs writes: I woke up in a bad mood. Am pretty sure I’m not the only one who this happens to occasionally. Even the Dalai Llama probably has his off days. This was not the best day for me to wake up in a less than gleeful mood, because my first port of call [...]

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Wonky Health: What might public health advocates learn from reading Rob Oakeshott’s new book?

The interests of cashed-up industries are routinely put ahead of our health.  That’s hardly “hold the front page” news for those in the public health field, so it’s perhaps surprising we don’t hear more public health advocates calling for action on systems of political governance, including political donations. The malignant influence of cashed-up political donors [...]

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Some lessons from the National Suicide Prevention Conference

How can people with lived experience of suicide be included more meaningfully and effectively in research and policy work? This is one of the major issues raised by discussions at the 2014 National Suicide Prevention Conference. In his final report on the conference, Matthew Giles says participants also highlighted the need for a national suicide [...]

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That Abetz comment on abortion and breast cancer: symptom of a wider malaise?

The Prime Minister and Health Minister Peter Dutton have pointed out the lack of evidence to support Senator Eric Abetz’s recent inflammatory comments linking abortion and breast cancer. But should his comments be seen as an aberration? There are any number of other areas where the Government’s statements and actions are not informed by evidence. [...]

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A call for transformative decolonisation of the health sector

To overcome health inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand, health professionals and their institutions need to take a long, hard look at themselves and their biases, according to public health physician Dr Rhys Jones. Health professionals, health care organisations and educational institutions must commit to the lifelong, transformative ‘unlearning’ processes [...]

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Reflections of an economic migrant: one life should not be valued more than another’s

We live in troubled times when our political leaders place more value on some lives than others, says Dr Virginia Barbour, a medical editor who brings a global perspective to bear on her recent move to Australia. *** By Virginia Barbour It’s been a strange few weeks from the point of view of a relatively [...]

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“The accidental logic of health policy in Australia” – some progressive ideas for reform

A new book aims to provide an antidote to policy failures arising out of “an ideology built upon faith in markets and a distrust of governments”. The authors of the health chapter, Professor Fran Baum and Professor Judith Dwyer, summarise below their contribution to Australian Public Policy: Progressive Ideas in the Neoliberal Ascendency.  “Overall, our message echoes [...]

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For patients to be informed & empowered, they need access to medical records

Patients are often urged to take greater responsibility for healthcare decisions – but this is easier said than done when access to medical records is not consistently available. Consumer health advocate Anne Cahill Lambert’s recent experience illustrates some of the barriers faced by people seeking access to their records. *** Anne Cahill Lambert writes: I [...]

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Our conversation about racism should not stop now the RDA is safe

You may have heard the sound of corks popping on Twitter yesterday when news broke that the Federal Government has dropped planned changes to the Racial Discrimination Act that had been opposed by many public health experts and community groups and members. On Monday night, Liberal MP Ken Wyatt told ABC TV’s Q and A [...]

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What is an ethical response to the “torture” of immigration detention?

The ethical dilemmas that face health professionals involved in systems that support or profit from the mandatory detention of asylum seekers were explored recently by lawyer Brynn O’Brien in this must-read article for Australian Doctor. She wrote: “The  ‘detention industry’ – the private infrastructure that supports and implements the government’s policy of mandatory detention – [...]

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